Smile Politely

Five things to eat or drink in C-U this month: March 2019

This month’s list includes Prairie Fruits Farm’s Babies & Brunch, undoubtedly the most adorable eating event of the year. (You do not eat babies of any kind.) This year’s CSA Fair makes the list, too; I’m all about looking and thinking ahead to warmer weather and delicious produce. Newbie restaurant NAYA is a must-visit; spring break at the U of I is next week and I can’t wait to visit a deserted Campustown for NAYA, and maybe a few other little snacks.

As always, share your favorite bites and drinks with us on social media.

Snacks and samples | CSA Fair

The CSA Fair is an easy way to learn about your CSA options and go ahead and sign up for one. CSA is community supported agriculture — basically, you pay a farmer a set amount of money and in return you get a haul of goodies weekly during the bountiful summer/early fall months. It’s a wonderful way to support local farmers, buy local produce, and eat more veggies.

This year’s CSA Fair is 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 16th in Lincoln Square Mall. You’ll be able to meet local CSA vendors and sign up on site. You’ll get an idea of what is being offered and how much you should plan for, etc., etc. Plus, there will be snacks and samples, which is always a treat.

All the relevant info is on the poster above.

Short ribs | NAYA

NAYA is the brand new restaurant opened by the same folks as Sakanaya and Miga, and it’s fantastic. Last week, I wrote about my first impressions. (Spoiler: The meal was amazing.) I can’t stop recommending the short ribs ($26), which means I also can’t stop thinking about them. I’m desperate to go back and try more things, but really I just want to bathe in a bowl of those short ribs.

212 E Green St (3rd and Green)
M-Sa 5 to 10 p.m.

Doughnuts and other baked goods | Lucky Pierre at Babies & Brunch

Prairie Fruits Farm’s famous Babies and Brunch kicks off on Saturday, March 30th, and I am excited. Not only are there baby goats to be seen and adored, but there will also be Lucky Pierre baked goods on hand. Lucky Pierre has been in a bit of a hiatus due to lack of a kitchen, and I have been depressed. Those doughnuts are so freaking good and I’m desperate for one of their cinnamon rolls or coffee cakes. Plus, they will pair perfectly with PFF’s goat milk hot chocolate. Lucky Pierre will only be providing the yummies on March 30th, so get yourself to the farm for what will be among one of the best Saturdays of the year.

Babies and Breakfast 
Prairie Fruits Farm
4410 Lincoln Ave
Saturday, March 30th (and Saturdays through April 27th)
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pork lo mein | Ming Garden

I only recently tried Ming Garden for the first time and that seems like a mistake. I’ve been missing out on the pork lo mein for years. It’s incredibly delicious, and very savory. It’s the quintessential Americanized Chinese food, and exactly what I want when I’m craving something salty and rich; it’s the perfect takeout. If you haven’t had this deliciousness, do order some. It’s a delivery/takeout situation, not a dine-in one.

Ming Garden
1804 Sangamon Dr
M-Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Su noon to 9 p.m.

Photo by Rebecca Wells

BEC on a bagel | Common Ground

Is there any better breakfast than a bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel? That’s not rhetorical — the answer is absolutely not. Last fall I went on an epic breakfast sandwich hunt in C-U, and Common Ground’s BEC on a Central Illinois Bakehouse everything bagel was my favorite. Look, if you’re from the Northeast, you’re probably very skeptical. There really is nothing quite as good as a New York bagel, but Central Illinois Bakehouse makes a pretty darn good one. It’s not too bready, and it has a little bit of chew on the outside. I suggest grabbing one of these bagel sammies before or after you do some Market in the Square shopping, or before or after you check out the CSA Fair on March 16th.

Common Ground Food Coop
300 S Broadway/Lincoln Square Mall
8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Photos by Jessica Hammie, except where noted


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